The First Movie Theater

Updated July 24, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

The Question:

When and where was the first movie theater?

The Answer:

The first theater in the world exclusively devoted to showing motion pictures was the Nickelodeon, which was opened on June 19, 1905 in Pittsburgh, Penn.

The theater was the creation of Harry Davis and John P. Harris who moved 96 seats into an empty store at 433-435 Smithfield St., transforming it into the world's first movie theater. The name was based on the cost of admission to the theater (a nickel) and the Greek word for theater (odeon).

The theater was the first to show films all day long and among the first films shown were Poor But Honest and The Baffled Burglar. The theater was a stunning success and thousands of nickelodeons began appearing in cities all across America.

Here is a newspaper article from 1919 about the Nickelodeon.

-The Editors

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